I think this is interesting and agree with what’s already been said. I think for a lot of folks the beauty of the game is in working out which way to deal with different impediments, so I think @Urben 's (excellently put) comment is exactly right.
I’d add, for me, there’s a balance between minimisation of frustration vs variety of possible approaches vs originality of solution
Frustration could include:
- if the starting point is a long way from targets or if restrictive conditions mean a load of ‘preparation’ is needed before trying the important bit of the contract
- if it’s unavoidably long
- if it involves waiting around too much
- if there’s so many complications it takes numerous goes (and looking up on hitmaps) to even work out what to do
- if it has a key action that’s unreliable (particularly if near the end of a route), e.g. an unreliable window of opportunity to avoid a witness.
- if a contract can’t be improved incrementally (i.e. you can’t ‘get it done’ moderately reliably then go back and try and improve efficiency bit at a time)
There’s always going to be some frustration (without any frustration, I guess it would be boring), but I think the best contracts only have as much as is necessary.
I’m very happy to put time in on a baffling single target puzzle with odd restrictions that might really only be doable in one way (so low variety) - if that way is interesting (high originality) and if I can test things out without excessive effort (frustration minimised by keeping it short) - i.e. there aren’t many other targets nor loads of navigating needed from a starting point nor insta-fail conditions that make it hard to test out ideas.
Equally, five targets fairly well spread across a big map can also be appealing if there’s scope to tackle them in lots of different ways and work out efficient routing across a map (high variety and frustration minimised by routes being improvable).
And I’ve gradually started to appreciate how this is reflected in maps (or bits of maps). As an example, the Santa Fortuna construction site - I’ve tried and failed several times to make an interesting contract there - it has plenty of interesting opportunities, and you can start there, however, I find the lines of sight make avoiding witnesses really tricky and potentially quite frustrating, so have never made something I’m satisfied with.
I also agree an interesting/funny title and description is good - whilst it probably isn’t essential to overall enjoyment of a contract, a sense of theme helps make it stand out, and in the absence of any other ‘quality control’ (except finding contracts posted e.g. here!), the title/description can be an indicator (though by no means a guarantee) that if the creator has thought carefully and creatively about that, then they might also have thought carefully and creatively about the design of the contract.
Er, that was longer than I intended, sorry for rambling